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The Exorcist

September 28, 2010

571. The Exorcist
Directed by William Friedkin
USA, 1973

IMDB | allmovie

Reviewed by Rachel
Umpteenth viewing


A young girl is possessed by an demon, and it’s up to two priests to save her.

Essential scene:

After many inconclusive physical examinations, Regan is finally referred to a psychiatrist. He examines her in her home using hypnosis. She is pale, seems weak and answers in a monotone voice.

Psychiatrist: Is there someone inside you?

Regan: Sometimes.

Psychiatrist: Who is he?

Regan: I don’t know.

Psychiatrist: Is it Captain Howdy?

Regan: I don’t know.

Psychiatrist: If I ask him to tell me, will you let him answer?

Regan: (louder) No.

Psychiatrist: Why not?

Regan: I’m afraid.

The psychiatrist starts to address the “other side” of Regan. A picture falls from the mantelpiece and Regan starts to emit a deep, animal-like growl. The people in the room start to cough and cover their mouths, as if they can suddenly smell a disgusting odour.

The psychiatrist asks the personality who it is. Regan looks at him for a beat and then quickly grabs his testicles. Screaming in pain, the psychiatrist falls to the floor, with Regan still holding on until she is wrestled off of him.


Whatever one may think of The Exorcist, you have to give Linda Blair the praise she deserves. She was a mere 14 years old when she was cast as Regan. Aside from spouting green puke and the vilest type of vocabulary known to man, she had to adapt her body language to believably portray a complete personality change. This demon, or whatever was in Regan, was evil and disgusting. Blair may have had the brilliant make-up artists to aid a lot of the change but the way she moves is just brilliant.

The Exorcist has always left me a bit uneasy. It has the same rollercoaster narrative of most generic horror films, where you’re treated to a calm and quiet scene inbetween the horrific moments. But somehow this is different. You’re not waiting for a killer to strike, you’re dealing with the unpredictability of an evil being and that is something no-one is familiar with. What is Regan going to do next?

Oddly enough, the one moment that I still can’t watch is the simplest type of horror. The style goes back to the silent era. During Father Karras’ dream of his mother, a shocking black and white face flashes up on the screen for the briefest of moments. Plain black and white make up, nothing fancy. But that image still haunts me!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Mark Busby permalink
    September 28, 2010 7:52 pm

    I saw this again recently, after a good few years since the last viewing. I found myself more disturbed by the hospital scenes than anything else, again down to the remarkable performance from Linda Blair. An amazing film, with it’s own fascinating mythology.

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